TORONTO -- Canadians' growing appetite for binging on episodes of their favourite TV shows represents a "transformational" trend that's shaking up the industry, says Rogers, which released the results of an online poll suggesting that 81 per cent of respondents watched three or more episodes of a series during a viewing marathon in the past year.
In the poll of 1,275 Canadians conducted by Head Research, viewers were asked how many episodes of a show they went through consecutively during a binge-watching session on a weeknight or on a weekend.
The average during the week was four straight episodes; 4.6 on weekends.
The figures weren't surprising to David Purdy, Rogers' senior vice-president of content, who said binge viewing is a major trend the company is paying close attention to.
"We're kind of in the beginning of what we think is a major transformational stage in the TV world, so we have a ton of questions and we're doing a lot of research these days," said Purdy.
When asked how many episodes of a show they watched consecutively during a viewing binge, the respondents who were 34 and younger averaged 5.4 episodes on a weeknight and 6.6 episodes on a weekend. Among those 55 and older, averages were 3.2 on a weeknight and 3.3 episodes on a weekend.
"We've heard loud and clear that 15- to 25-year-olds want to consume content differently than their parents did so this has been a real focus for us."
Purdy said the company is looking to address the trend by rolling out a Netflix-type on-demand service that would be sold as an add-on to a monthly subscription.
The growing availability of online video content has contributed to the so-called "cord cutter" trend, referring to consumers who have cancelled their cable TV subscriptions because they find enough content to watch via the Internet or free over-the-air signals.
Then there are "cord nevers," young consumers who have never paid for a TV plan and perhaps never will. Purdy said the cord-never trend is growing and is a legitimate threat.
"I definitely believe that if we don't evolve our products and services -- the way we have been and are planning to continue to do so -- that 'cord nevers' are a very real risk."
The online poll was conducted between April 3 and 8. Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
-- The Canadian Press